This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


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1,064 comments to This Land Is Mine

  • […] Paley inclusive criou, em seu blog, uma descrição de todos os povos representados no vídeo, que traduzimos (e adaptamos, com mais […]

  • Mari

    I absolutely love this! I liked the music from “Exodus”, but didn’t hear the song til now. The tragic irony is wonderful. Schadenfreude at its best!

  • Rusty

    Great job! One small “nit”: the Israeli soldiers should have M-16s, not AK-47s… :)

  • Billmon

    Brilliant stuff, but you left out the Persians — who conquered Palestine twice: first from the Babylonians (freeing the exiles) and then, much later, briefly from the Byzantines.

  • Taral Wayne

    Oh yeah, Byzantines fought Romans many times, but they thought of it as a civil war — emperors putting down ursurpers, dual emperors seeking to be sole emperors, generalisimos trying to become emperor!

  • Ali

    It’s weird that Turk has darker skin than Arabian :P

  • Iracema

    The best synthesis that I ever seen. You shuold get a award, thanks for the video!

  • […] as clean as a deed of title can be. But there’s more to the real estate story than that.  Nina Paley’s 2012 animation of Andy Williams’ pipes shows a succession of conquering Canaanites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Jews, […]

  • Yoni

    Brava, Nina!

    Like so many others, I was inspired by Uris’ novel “Exodus” and later by the Andy Williams song. I hope your animation takes hold in more peoples’ awareness to refine our adolescent emotionality.

    P.S. Previous commenter Rusty’s “nit” about the M-16 vs. AK-47 would be valid except that the IAI Galil used by the IDF has a lot in common with the Kalash. But I’ll bet Nina was in fact drawing AKs. If so, Rusty is correct. Academic writing and honest journalism are all about nits, but cartoon truth doesn’t have to be so literal.

  • […] He used the line “God gave this land to me,” as a primary example. In the story he also used Nina Paley’s 2012 animation — which shows a succession of cultural groups conquering each other — as an example to […]

  • […] as clean as a deed of title can be. But there’s more to the real estate story than that. Nina Paley’s 2012 animation of Andy Williams’ pipes shows a succession of conquering Canaanites, Egyptians, Assyrians, […]

  • Muhammad Ali

    Islam is religion of peace.We are peacefull people!
    muslims didn’t ever exile jews after conquer jerusalem.
    muslims didn’t ever destroyed temple of solomon p.b.u.h and others of jews and christians.
    muslim didn’t ever bann to visit their holly places.
    First our great caliph omer bin khattab mercy on jews to visit their holly places.
    Then Salah uddin ayubi mercy on both jews and christian!
    Then our ottomon caliphs mercy on right do buisness and support!
    Koran and islam gives us order to behave like this to humanity!
    Islam is religion of peace
    And peace will dominate the world!

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